Fire Ops 101: City leaders spend day as a first responder - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Fire Ops 101: City leaders spend day as a first responder

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CARBONDALE -- City leaders from all across the region recently had the chance to participate in Fire Ops 101, giving them a glimpse of the difficult work firefighters do every day. This was the first time Fire Ops training has been held south of Champaign. 
"Its an opportunity for local firefighters to bring out their elected officials, administration, the people that are making decisions, to see first-hand the work that they do each and every day," said Pat Devaney, President of the International Association of Fire Fighters. 
Leaders from Carbondale, Herrin, Marion, Metropolis and Murphysboro were taken to five different stations. Each one showing a different scenario firefighters are put into including venting a rood, forcible entry, extrication, ladder operations, and going into a live fire to rescue a victim and drag in a hose in the dark. 
Herrin Mayor, Steve Frattini, did the training with firefighters from the Herrin Department. He said it was a great opportunity to see what firefighters contend with when they walk into a burning building. 
"It's been a real good education in terms of better understanding the need for training, quality of equipment, and having the manpower to do the job," said Frattini. 
Murphysboro Mayor Will Stephens agreed, adding that what he learned will stick with him as he makes decisions. 
"For inexperienced people like myself, it just goes miles beyond what you can learn just from sitting in a board room," said Stephens. 
Many city leaders were surprised by just how difficult it can be to see your hand in front of your face in heavy smoke. 
"A lot of times flash lights won't do nothing but blind you. It hits the smoke and it doesn't go through the smoke, it's that dark and thick." said Matt Wozniak, a Carbondale Firefighter. "So we are listening for the crack and we feel the heat and when we are getting hotter, we are getting closer and when we hear the cracks, we know we are getting close," said Wozniak. 
Carbondale City Manager, Gary Williams, said this experience showed him first-hand the dangers of the job. 
"In my office, I read the call sheets and I read the calls for service. It's just a number, it's a piece of data but it's a lot different actually seeing the conditions that these firefighters work in. It helps appreciation of how hard they work, the training, you know, you have to stay fit. It's a hard job" 

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